Story 04: Where Did the Ideas Come From?Story | Related Media | Archives | Print | eMail | Search
Written by Janet Kamien
Aaron Gurian was Elaine's first born. Tragically, at age seven, he caught chicken pox and developed encephalitis. He survived this devastating illness as few did at the time, but it left him with huge intellectual limitations and chronic seizures. When Elaine began at the museum she naturally wanted Aaron to come for visits. She soon realized that Aaron and kids like him needed to have supervised and serene visits. They could not share the environment with boisterous groups of third graders and get much from it. This understanding spawned a special education program that occurred on Monday mornings (then our closed day) and tried to provide one-to-one staffing from our interpreters and volunteers. The program eventually became larger, switched to Wednesday morning, and at its height, trained regular education teachers in collaboration with Lesley University. About forty children came each week for twenty years. Hundreds of interpreters, volunteers and teachers met them, learned from them and shared a good time.
Aaron Gurian died in 2011, and all his family and friends came to say good-bye. He never knew what an inspiration he had been, but he was.